JK Rowling trans row: shutting down Harry Potter author is not a good way to win trans rights, says Wes Streeting

Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Mr Streeting, who was appointed prime minister in November, said it was “perfectly legitimate” to disagree with the Edinburgh-based Harry Potter author, who has become a controversial figure because of of her comments on gender identity.

But he called for “a lot more empathy and understanding” when defending LGBT rights, warning “don’t try to silence the voices of others.”

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Addressing BBC Radio 4’s political reflection with Nick Robinson, Mr Streeting said: “I see myself as part of an LGBT community.

“I will always stand up for trans rights and a community that has no representation in Parliament is at worst of all statistics on things like mental illness, physical abuse, sexual abuse.

“I will always be by their side and speak for them.

“But what I would also say to my own community is that if we are trying to win hearts and minds, persuade people and negotiate the future of LGBT equality, don’t try to silence the voice of others. “

In 2020, Rowling wrote an essay explaining how she was partly motivated to speak out about transgender issues due to her experience with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Mr Streeting added: “It is perfectly legitimate for people to disagree with JK Rowling and his position on this.

“But you have to ask yourself if you are aiming to win hearts and minds, if someone like JK Rowling wrote a deeply personal article in which she describes a very personal, personal and painful experience of abuse, think you really think the way to win an argument for trans equality is to try to silence her when she made an argument in that context?

“So I think there has to be a lot more empathy and understanding, and it goes both ways.”

Rowling, in 2020, responded to an article titled “Creating a More Equal Post-Covid-19 World for Men Who Have Their Periods,” tweeting, ““ People who have their period. ”I’m sure it there was a note for these people. Someone help me. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud? “

She denies being transphobic and defended her comments by saying, “If sex isn’t real, there is no same-sex attraction.

His critics include Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex has changed the name of its red house from Rowling to Holmes – in honor of Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes.

A school newsletter from July 2021 said its six houses are “represented by British citizens who have excelled”.

He added: “However, following many inquiries from students and staff, we are reviewing the name of our red house ‘Rowling’ and in light of JK Rowling’s comments and views regarding people. trans.

“His views on this issue are inconsistent with our school policy and the beliefs of our school – a place where people are free to be.”

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